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>> I've to Utah to take a very historic action.>> US President Donald Trump on Monday announced bug cuts to Utah's sprawling national monuments. In a speech to supporters in Salt Lake City, Trump called for the 1.3 million acre Bear's Ears National Monument, created in 2016 under then President Barack Obama, to be cut back to almost one sixth the size, and split into two separate areas.
Trump has said former presidents abused the Antiquities Act, by putting big chunks of territory off limits to drilling, mining, grazing, road traffic and other activities. This part of his plan to ramp up US energy output, but whether he's allowed to scale back landmark designations is unclear, says Reuters reporter Valerie Volcovici.
>> A president hasn't made a reversal or downsizing of national monuments to this scale before. We already know that a group of tribes and some conservation groups are planning to file a lawsuit to challenge the president's order today, and we'll see whether or not the president actually had the ability to issue these proclamations to reduce the size of these monuments.
The five tribes have joined together to create the Bears Ears National Monument have argued that this move by the president violates their sovereign rights as sovereign nations. And they are going to argue that the president is also in conflict with the federal treaties with the tribes.>> Trump also called for a 50% cut to the state's 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument created by President Clinton in 1996, splitting it into three areas.
Democratic leaders including Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer immediately issued a statement calling Trump's order deeply troubling and quote, a breach of our responsibility both to those who founded this nation and those who will inherit it.